Distressed Students

What is distressed behavior?

A student may not always be aware they are experiencing distress; however, they may exhibit signs that they need help. Indicators of distress may include excessive class absences, declining academic performance, poor emotional control, mood swings, changes in sleeping or eating habits, excessive concern about physical or mental health, persistent depression or anxiety, suicidal or homicidal intent, or participation in risky activities. Distressed students may also cause disruptions in classroom.

How can I help a student in distress?

                  The first step is to gauge the student’s level of distress by asking yourself:

  • Is this student’s behavior distressing and out of the ordinary?
  • Is this beyond my skill level”
  • Has this behavior been increasing over time?
  • Does the student appear to be at risk?
  • Does the student’s behavior place others at risk?
  • Am I feeling as if I could use help or guidance in this situation?

Answering “yes” to any of these questions may indicate that a student is distressed and needs help. If a student is exhibiting minimal signs of distress, an expression of concern is often the best way to offer your support and assistance. Share your concerns about his or her specific behaviors, and refer them to the Health & Wellness Center at 806-716-2529.

You are also encouraged to make a CARE Team referral at https://www.southplainscollege.edu/about/campussafety/complaints.php.

In cases where a student is exhibiting extremely distressed behavior and may need immediate assistance, if possible, please contact the Health & Wellness Center and let them know you are escorting a student over for an emergency appointment.

If you believe that a student intends to harm him/herself, someone else, or College property, dial 911 or contact SPCPD immediately at806-893-5705.


Disruptive Classroom Behavior

How do I respond to the behavior of a disruptive student?

  • Minimal disruptive behavior: With minimally disruptive behavior (i.e., repeated tardiness, yelling, ignoring College policies, etc.), talk to the student immediately upon observing the behavior. In these cases, the purpose of the discussion is to review the behavior, its impact on others and the learning environment, and clarify expectations for appropriate behavior. You are also encouraged to make a CARE Team referral at https://www.southplainscollege.edu/about/campussafety/complaints.php.
  • Significant disruptive behavior: In some cases, disruptive behavior is significant and may even pose a threat to property and/or to you or other members of the College community. In these cases, it is important that the proper campus officials are notified immediately. If there is any concern for safety of student or others call SPC Police Department at 806-893-5705. Also contact the Dean of Reese Center at 806-716-4700 or submit a general student conduct incident report at https://www.southplainscollege.edu/about/campussafety/complaints.php.


Some important guidelines for responding to distressed or disturbed students: